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Shoosmiths achieved a £250,000 award for a widow after her 77 year-old husband died from mesothelioma. It had taken some detective work to track down witnesses but the persistence and effort shown by all concerned got the right result.
Her husband was employed as an electrician by the then Midlands Electricity Board (subsequently bought out by Powergen) between 1954 until he retired in 1995. During the normal course of his employment, he was exposed to asbestos on an almost routine basis, handling asbestos insulators and drilling through walls that contained the material.
Throughout his employment, he was never given any instruction on the dangers of the material or provided with breathing apparatus, masks or any form of personal protective equipment. He was diagnosed as having mesothelioma in 2012. There was no direct evidence about how the asbestos exposure occurred because by the time the claim began, our client’s husband was deceased.
Instead, we had to rely on finding former workmates at the time from whom we could obtain witness statements. Their evidence confirmed the nature of the work undertaken as well as the lack of protective equipment. The defendant insurance company admitted liability and causation and we set about negotiating how much the claim should be valued at. Within a relatively short time the other side settled for an award of £250,000.